Very entertaining and very funny book about an alien assigned to come to Earth and get a job at Time magazine. It helps to know some of the trends and personalities of the day when this was written. Then even if you don’t it doesn’t take away from the humor. This is a lot of fun.
Aliens want to visit Earth. They remake one of their own full of plastic and gadgets to make the trip. He takes the name Bing Walter. The Leader tells him to get a job as a science writer at Time magazine and then have a cover story printed about the coming visit from space.
Bing’s capsule is disguised as a Fedder’s rooftop air conditioning unit. When he has to communicate with the Leader and his wisecracking secretary Felicity, Bing has to change into a Fedder’s repairman and crawl inside the unit.
He befriends writer J.Lew Trindle who sends story ideas to the editor. When they’re accepted he never gets any credit. At Cal Tech in California, scientists are working on signals from space. Bing knows they’re from his planet and he’s waiting for them to translate them in advance of the visit. In a very funny sequence he imagines the whole thing as a movie in which the two scientists refuse to translate the signals.
Bing also runs across the amorous Sally Lou who gets drunk and takes Bing back to her place. Lucky for him she passed out before she realized his limitations. Bing also becomes pals with the Cal Tech computer that decides to call itself Rufus.
Before they can go any further the Cal Tech project is taken over by NASA. Rufus isn’t happy. Meanwhile at the magazine Bing is helping Trindle break the code in the signals so it can lead to the cover story. At a drunken bash in the Village, Trindle tells Bing he sent a memo to the science editor about their story. That doesn’t go over so well. In California, the unthinkable. The computer is missing. Maybe it didn’t like the name the scientists gave it, Gloria.
If you like wacky computers and a book with a lot of laughs try and find this one.